As an online student, you face many challenges that students in traditional on-campus degree programs do not face. Everything from the way you complete your assignments to the way that you interact with professors and classmates is different, and for many people this adjustment is a rather difficult hurdle to overcome.
While online learning may never be suitable for each and every person, with the right tips and knowledge in mind and a strong work ethic, you can learn what it takes to succeed. Use the following tips to give yourself a solid base for completing an online program successfully and making the most out of your studies.
Self Motivation is the Most Important Battle
For the online learner, the number one concern must at all times be self motivation. When attending a traditional degree program, you are held accountable by the structure of the classes and the actions of your peers. If you skip class, the professor will mark the absence and it could even harm your final grades. Teaming up with other students to attend classes and complete assignments is an easy way to stay on track, meet deadlines and push beyond perceived limits.
These inherent advantages to on-campus programs are absent in online education. Therefore, it is up to you to motivate yourself and stay on track at all times. Without professors and peers being able to watch over you as much, you must make it a top priority to be aware of all deadlines, to complete all assignments and to stay up to date with all class work and news.
The convenience and flexibility of online learning are two of its greatest benefits. However, the most successful online students stick with schedules that they impose on themselves to ensure they always accomplish what is asked of them. Consider dedicating specific days of the week, and times of the day, to get done particular tasks or assignments. Since it’s entirely up to you to pick these times, sticking to a schedule should be unobtrusive and will assist in successful class participation.
Always remember that you are enrolling in these online courses for a reason. Whether it’s for a job promotion, a jumpstart to a new, more exciting or higher paying career or anything else, keep that goal in mind at all times in order to stay on track. The only person you’re hurting by not reading textbooks, turning in assignments on time or participating in other class work is yourself.
Solve Potential Technical Problems Before They Haunt You
Luckily, the technology involved with online education has greatly improved over the past several years. Faster computers, improved software programs and online tools, high-speed internet access and much more have all enhanced the capabilities of online students. Still, technical problems can be a major source of hassle and frustration anytime you are entirely reliant on the online medium.
The best way to help minimize these problems is to solve as many of them upfront as possible. Look over requirements and guidelines offered by the university and by individual instructors for the kinds of software or tools you may need to utilize. If you do not have immediate access to them, ask what the next best option available to you is. Oftentimes you can receive discounted programs and even free usage of applications or other solutions can be worked out.
Be sure that your computer, web browser and other relevant tools are up to date and in working order. If anything you are using is not completely reliable, then find a suitable alternative such as a work office, a local library, or the computer of a friend or family member that you can use when necessary.
Solving as many of these problems beforehand as possible will help provide a better, smoother experience. Online educators are entirely aware of these potential hiccups and are willing to work with you to find workable solutions. However, problems left unresolved can come back at the worst moments, leaving you without an immediate resolution.
Reach Out to Professors and Classmates
Many online students feel alienated without face-to-face interactions with professors and peers. This can be dealt with by taking the initiative to reach out to your teachers and fellow distance learners and form mutually beneficial relationships. With chat rooms, discussion boards, Skype phone calls and video chats, interactive presentations, virtual classrooms and more, it’s easier than ever to establish meaningful, fruitful friendships with people all across the globe.
Other classmates are all in the same position and will usually welcome the opportunity to discuss assignments, share breakthroughs and have a sounding board for questions. Students can easily form weekly study groups, check assignments for errors, suggest ways to improve, and provide support for one another.
Professors on the other hand miss the chance to directly see how their teaching is affecting students, and lose a lot of the control they have in terms of message dissemination. Therefore, they typically make great efforts to make themselves available for their online students with phone calls, discussions and other means of assistance.
Never make the mistake that you are all alone in an online program. Online instructors and the other students enrolled in your classes are all sharing the same experience and reaching out to these individuals will provide a richer and more fulfilling learning environment.
It’s Up to You!
To succeed as an online student, whether it is a certificate program, an undergraduate degree, or an advanced degree, you must realize that the imperative ultimately lies with yourself. You must stay motivated and stick with schedules and deadlines, ensuring you complete class work, study for tests and turn in assignments. Technical problems can often be solved before they erupt, and helpful relationships can be formed with classmates and professors.
Online learning will never completely mimic traditional on-campus programs. However, the platform has improved immensely in a short time, and today if you are willing to make the full effort, you can enjoy a convenient alternative that is more powerful, capable and efficient than ever before.